Like today when this male cardinal perched on this branch for more than 10 minutes without moving or making any sound.
WHY ?Because while we’re feeding our feathered friends, a VERY Unwelcome Visitor (UV) has been coming around hoping to feed too — on other birds.
YES, we’re talking about a hawk. The distinctive brown tail feathers are barely visible as I caught it perched in a neighbor’s tree early today.
This very UV has been hanging around here the past several weeks. It’s also been spotted in a fellow blogger and neighbor’s back yard. She has a lot of feeders that attract a variety of birds making attractive menu choices for this raptor.
Informally called “sharp-shins” or “sharpies” these are the smallest hawks residing in the US and Canada. Their full name is a Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus).Hardly tiny in comparison to his prey, “sharpie” is quite an acrobatic flier. It can appear in a blur of motion and disappear in a flurry of feathers as I saw it do today. Thankfully, its intended victim was able to escape. The feeders on the sides of the F&P are located beside a clump of hedges or several crepe myrtles. These make good escape places for smaller birds.
Sharp-shinned hawks have distinctive proportions: long legs, short wings, small heads, and very long tails, which they use for navigating at top speed in pursuit of songbirds and mice. The tail tends to be square-tipped and may show a notch at the tip. Females are considerably larger than males.
They’re easily spotted around winter feeders, as they are much larger than their intended victims and the feeders become noticeably void of activity.
This one has been spotted perching on the shepherd’s hook between 2 feeders several times in the past 2 weeks. It’s not easily deterred and either Grenville or myself need to go out and make a lot of noise to get him to leave.
Sharp-shinned Hawks are agile fliers and speed through dense woods to surprise their prey, typically songbirds, causing a wave of high-pitched alarm calls among the gathered songbirds.. They do not stoop on prey from high overhead and can also pounce from low perches. When flying across open areas they have a distinctive flap-and-glide flight style.
Adults are slate blue-gray above, with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast. Adults and young have broad dark bands across their long tails. The female “sharpie” is usually larger than the male.IF only this UV would help by ridding the feeders of these UVs . . .